When I joined Facebook in 2010, I had little idea how it would come to color my life. To describe my growing discomfort, I can sum it up in one small detail: this year, I forgot my mother’s birthday.
Since Facebook does such a diligent job of reminding you of birthdays – your college roommate, your high school lab partner, any and all exes, your aunt’s russel terrier – it’s easy to outsource your entire birthday enterprise. Sending best wishes is increasingly accomplished only at the prompting of an iphone ping.
My mother doesn’t have Facebook. I am busy. As a result of those two things, the day went by unmarked and soon I had several indignant messages on my voicemail from my father, rightly expressing his disappointment. I managed to narrowly make up for it, but here is my real point:
Facebook distracts me from what is real and important in my life.
That is not my only complaint with Mark Zuckerberg’s website, but it is the one that broke the camel’s back. I deactivated yesterday. As I go through withdrawal (yes, it exists, that intuitive tapping of the “f” key to automatically navigate to that erstwhile homepage, the youtube links I must now send cumbersomely via email, the pangs of panic as I think of all the parties I won’t be invited to because when you’re not on Facebook, people forget you exist…)
I’m reaching out to offer a different kind of “social networking,” one that requires more careful thought and less robotic “liking.” I will write you letters, I will call you on the phone, I will send paper invitations and I will come to keep you as the kind of friend about whom I know more than the specter of your instagram feeds.
You are receiving this message because there is love for you in my heart. I hope the unsightly nature of a bbc’ed email doesn’t detract from its message, and would love any and all responses.
Happy new year.